• Collegian staff

As COVID restrictions ease, admin to use survey results to inform reopening

Noah Dantes

Editor-in-chief


Willamette sent a survey to students at all of its schools asking about their personal experience during the pandemic, their experience with COVID mitigation strategies and their satisfaction with their WU experience. The survey, which was sent out in December and closed in January, received 476 responses across the three schools, with over 350 coming from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). The findings were shared with senior leadership, the Reopening Committee (ROC), the leadership team in Student Affairs, University Council and the Board of Trustees at the February meeting.


Vice President of Student Affairs Lisa Landreman said in an email interview that as Marion County’s COVID-19 risk level [established by the Oregon Health Authority] falls, the survey results will inform Willamette’s policy adjustments. The goal is to “allow for opportunities for our community members to gather in meaningful ways.” Some policy shifts that have already occurred include the resumption of limited indoor Goudy dining, athletic competition, service and recreation activities and the reopening of the fitness center.


The survey was developed by Landreman and Kelley Strawn, the faculty associate dean for curriculum and professor of sociology. “With COVID being such an unprecedented experience for everyone we thought it important to ask some specific questions about students' experiences and not just rely on anecdotal accounts or assumptions,” Landreman said.


"Staff and administration at Willamette University showed care and concern for me during the Fall 2020"


When asked “Staff and administration at Willamette University showed care and concern for me during the Fall 2020,” 47.2 percent of CAS students answered neutral, dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, 38.1 percent answered very satisfied or satisfied and 14.8 percent did not answer. Conversely, both Atkinson and Law students overwhelmingly replied “very satisfied” or “satisfied.” Respondents answered on a scale from one to five, with one = very satisfied and five = very dissatisfied.

For a separate question, “Faculty at Willamette University showed care and concern for me during the Fall 2020,” more than 65 percent of respondents at each school indicated that they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with faculty.


“With respect to Covid prevention, how well do you perceive that the Willamette Community complied with the WU Well U Agreement mitigation strategies during the Fall 2020 term?”


Respondents were also asked the question, “With respect to Covid prevention, how well do you perceive that the Willamette Community complied with the WU Well U Agreement mitigation strategies during the Fall 2020 term?” They were asked to rate WU COVID rules compliance on a scale from 1 (very well) to 5 (very poor). The following categories were assessed: wearing masks in all campus public spaces, maintaining 6 ft. of social distance on campus, adhering to room capacity restrictions, limiting visitors in residence halls, restricting eating to designated areas, not allowing guests on campus, not attending in-person activities with COVID-19 symptoms and reporting all positive tests to the university. For seven of the eight categories, respondents overwhelmingly said the WU community was doing “well” or “very well” in compliance. The exception was the category “maintaining 6 ft. of social distance on campus,” for which respondents were largely neutral.


For a separate question, “Faculty, staff, and administration at Willamette University did a good job helping students adapt to Fall 2020 Covid mitigation strategies,” over half of respondents answered “satisfied” or “very satisfied.” The average CAS response was “satisfied,” while the average response for AGSM and WU law was “very satisfied.”


“Overall, how connected would you say you felt to friends during Fall 2020?"


When asked “Overall, how connected would you say you felt to friends during Fall 2020?,” respondents overwhelmingly said they felt less connected to friends than during a normal semester, across all three schools and across all measured demographics (race, gender, personal residence and way of attending class). Law students responded “not at all connected” at a rate more than double that of other Willamette schools.


Respondents were also asked “Compared to previous semesters, how ___ have you been during Fall 2020?” This question was asked for three positive dispositions (happy, optimistic and motivated) and for three negative dispositions (anxious, bored and stressed). Responses were calculated on a seven point scale, with 1 = “much less” and 7 = “much more.” The majority of respondents answered “less” or “much less” for the positive dispositions, and “more” or “much more” for the negative dispositions. Disposition responses were similar when broken down by demographic (race, gender, personal residence and way of attending class).


On the survey as a whole, Landreman said: “In general it is our practice to assess students' experiences and learning following their engagement with a particular initiative, program or class so that we can better understand students' experiences and can adjust our efforts to enhance student learning and satisfaction or to note may be working well.” She made clear that these survey results would inform Willamette’s reopening decisions moving forward as Marion County’s risk level is lowered.


Other survey results


Overall, have you done any of the following in response to the coronavirus this fall 2020 semester? (Select all that apply). The X axis counts the number of responses.


Identify those things that you found helpful for managing the COVID crisis (check all that apply.) The X axis counts the number of responses.


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